Books have been the supreme source of knowledge, well before the advent of technology. Libraries were the central hub of knowledge. However, in today’s world, every single computer, every phone is a hub of knowledge. Technology has aided tremendously in the dissemination of information. It has spread faster and further. As a result, reading online articles and books have now become a staple activity. The reality is that it is now both a need and a distraction. This is where the best text to speech software comes into play.
For example, imagine you want to listen to a book at the same time you are working on pesky software code. Do you know any dyslexic students that want to listen to online text or scholarly articles? Or, in this era where there is a rise in the number of YouTube vloggers, where would you look for high-quality narration software? There is a high demand for quality text to speech conversion software with hundreds of choices online.
There is also a rising demand to make websites more interactive. The audience struggle with the loss of focus and small text amidst all the clutter. This gives rise to the need to make websites more aural than visual. The top text to speech programs has different features tailored to address these different needs.
What does an online text to speech program do?
Very simply, it reads out text. Do you know where is it used? The short answer – Everywhere.
Where text to speech software is useful:
Do you have a document that needs to be proofread, but is too tired to focus on the tens of pages and hundreds of words? Are you developing a video game and would like some apt narration? What if you are building an interactive website designed for the visually impaired? Did you know that 15-20% of the global population struggles to read text on websites because of language, text, font, etc.? Perhaps you would you like to introduce the habit of reading books to children. The transition is easier when they move from small books to complex text, especially when they have a technological aid that reads text out loud. All these situations can use online text to speech conversion solutions.
Websites could also be dealing with an audience with different literacy levels that may find the spoken language easier to understand than the written word. YouTube and social media influencers now swear by narration software customized to their channel. Different voices and multiple languages increase the engagement and help the audience focus on the content. Higher levels of engaging content imply that there will be more web traffic. Monetizing web pages and developing podcasts become an achievable goal for people that have content but are unable to deliver it in a nuanced way. Advances in TTS give way to emote and provide depth and relatability.
To paraphrase, TTS enables:
- Higher web traffic
- Cost and time savings
- Higher engagement and focus
What we want to do for you is break down the best text to speech software available in 2019. While we could not review all the sites available, we are going to be sampling the 10 best sites and highlighting the features that make the program attractive.
What we will be using to rate these apps:
– Cost: Free or paid. Some online solutions offer a basic free version and a paid premium version with more features.
– Audience and usage: Commercial or personal. Customers can use the recorded files for commercial purposes without worrying about copyright issues. Personal usage could mean use for reading news or articles.
– Language choices and speech rates during reading out aloud: Unlimited real-sounding voices, multiple languages, and speech rates are available. The ability to control all these give rise to increased comprehension.
– Technology support for the app: The technology of the program itself, files storage, history, retrieval and download, and bookmarking audio files are important factors to consider. Access and support on different browsers and devices are crucial in this age. You should be able to read an article on the bus with your mobile and continue reading from your laptop at work.
– Ease of usage of the app: You should be able to begin using right away without clicking lots of buttons and ensure the voiceover is accurate. Installation of additional software or plugins contributes to the complexity of using these platforms.
While we understand that not all product users leave feedback, the existing reviews on applications give that product a big boost. We will include any user feedback and reviews found on the website.
What is the best text to speech software?
Here is a brief snapshot of the top 10 best text to speech software in 2019:
1. Natural TTS
Natural TTS has one of the best text to speech choices available for netizens. The interface is super simple to use.
The free version allows you to input 40,000 characters to convert into one of the 6 available languages. In addition, there are 61 natural sounding voices, including male and female choices. Too many documents to input? Natural TTS’s OCR solution lets you read scanned documents. The software is very versatile and can be purchased for both personal use and commercial use under different plans.
The plans range from only $9.99/month for a personal plan to $79.99/month for a commercial plan. This text to mp3 program lets you play with up to 15 languages. SSML support lets you manipulate and control the audio playback with regards to pitch, intonation, speed, etc.
Subscribers can use all the available languages and premium languages based on the plan.
Supported formats include pdf, txt, and doc.
What Makes Natural TTS Stand Out
– Personal or commercial use
– 61 high quality and natural-sounding voices
– SSML support to customize and control all aspects of speech including pronunciation, volume and speech rate
– OCR Technology to read from scanned documents
– Upload docs in .pdf, .txt and .doc formats. Download in .mp3 and .wav formats
– File History is saved for easy access
– Easy user interface
NaturalReader is a powerful solution to upload your documents and convert them to .mp3 format to access them anywhere. Founded in Canada, NaturalSoft Ltd. is a technology company that aims to provide top-shelf speech solutions for software, web, and mobile applications, per their website.
The natural-sounding 100 plus voices are crystal clear and high quality. OCR technology helps to read scanned documents. NaturalReaders also lets you upload documents in PDF, txt, doc(x), ppt(x), pages, ods, odt, and non-DRM epub files. Their chrome extension enables you to listen to your emails, articles, and news directly from your webpage. Pronunciation Editor helps correct or improve speech in any language.
The bookmarking feature allows you to save your place and return to it. In addition to all this, NaturalReaders also has the dyslexic font on the text to help dyslexic users read along and practice their skills.
The site offers different plans – free, premium and plus. The free plan lets users leverage the chrome extensions and read for up to 20 minutes each day with Premium and free voices. The Premium plan is $9.99/month and can be used for mp3 conversion for up to 1 million characters a month. The Plus plan is $19/month and provides unlimited use with Premium and Plus Voices – 100+ voices in total.
The platform also allows users access to Audio Editor. This helps assign voices or speeds to selected text, insert pauses or even plug in your own mp3 files. Commercial user licenses start at $49/month and go up to a team license with 4 users for $79/month.
What Makes NaturalReaders Stand Out
– Free, Premium or Plus versions with use of Premium Voices, Free Voices
– Individual add-ons for new voices as required
– AI-driven synthesized voices
– Personal or commercial usage
– Chrome Extension to read web pages and Google documents
– OCR technology to read images and scanned documents
– Upload docs in pdf, txt, doc(x), epub, ods, odt, pages, ppt(x), png, jpeg formats
– Pronunciation Editor
– Dyslexia font as a reading aid to help dyslexic readers
– Access from mobile or desktop
– Bookmark sections, adjust to skip reading header and footers and highlight text as it is being read
The 39 testimonials on the website offer an insight into the features that are most appreciated on the application. Most of the testimonials throughout the website talk about the quality of the voices and the voice themselves, the chance to hear what is being written and the ability to play it back, the convenience of the application for a person on the go.
The users also provide detailed feedback about how the application helped improve their English. They also repeat how it has helped them to speak and write better. Consistent with the product statement, the users have also reiterated the accuracy of the pronunciation and the ease of usage of the application.
The easy to use the platform of TTS reader just requires you to drop the text in the required field and click play. The speech synthesizers on TTS Reader are natural-sounding and equipped with multiple accents. Since the text is also highlighted, it is easy to follow along.
The app uses cloud-sync to sync between multiple devices, so a bookmark on one device can be followed up on another. It can extract text to read aloud from common files like pdf, txt, and epub. The resultant audio files can be in any of the multiple languages, accents and their pace can be adjusted as well. They have a function to export audio files in a single click; however, this function currently exists only in Windows browsers. Their servers can handle high volumes. As a result, there is no upper limit on the text that can be read aloud.
What Makes TTS Reader Stand Out
– Full range of text to speech and speech to text applications and services
– Personal or commercial usage
– Free or Premium options for web, Chrome extension, and Android devices
– Automatically bookmark and save to Cloud for easy retrieval
– Future upgrades included in the one-time payment
The TTSReader users have even used the text to audio program to proofread a book and cut their editing time in half. One review also has mentioned it being able to handle longer and bigger chunks of text as compared to other applications. All users appreciated the soothing sound of the voices.
The Textspeech program is easy to use. Their no-frills website has a maximum limit of 50,000 characters. You can convert any text to an mp3 format. Simply put in the text and click to convert into a downloadable audio file.
What Makes Textspeech Stand Out
– Simple and easy interface
– 50,000-character limit
– 8 languages in 5 voices with 4 speeds
– Download audio file in .mp3 format to play on PC
This France based TTS site is a simple, user-friendly website. Text2speech is a free service that converts text to one of the 6 voices in five speeds. Their basic solution comes with a maximum character limit of 4,000. Put in the text and convert to audio file, yes, it is easy as that.
What Makes Text2Speech.org Stand Out
– Free service using CMU Flite as TTS
– Personal and commercial usage
– Maximum usage of 4,000 characters
– 6 choices including English, Scottish, Hindi, and Marathi
iSpeech has a clear mission – “to speech enable the web and the world”. iSpeech has more than 30 million downloads of its apps.
They also offer text to speech and speech recognition solutions compatible across multiple devices. The TTS solution can be in 27 languages in natural sounding voices at 3 reading speeds. You can get started with their Quick installation Cloud-based API or WordPress plugin. As it is being read, the text is highlighted, and the listen button is displayed on all the webpages. The files can be uploaded in doc, pdf or txt formats and downloaded in multiple audio formats.
For developers, the website offers free mobile and web SDKs as well.
What Makes iSpeech Stand Out:
– Free online text to speech service
– 27 languages and natural sounding voices
– 3 speeds
– No installation; quick sign in and conversion
– File download into wav, mp3, ogg, wma, aiff, alaw, ulaw, vox, mp4 formats
– Mobile and web use
What Makes Oddcast Stand Out:
– Offers accurate text to speech in 30 plus languages
– Also offers text to sing
– Produces more than 185 different male and female voices
– Translate text and reverse translate in English and a few other languages using a TTS translator
– Can be used in conjunction with Record by Mic and Record by Phone applications
– Allows users to manipulate recording playback
– Easy to use, no programming skills required
Intrigued by the above screenshot? It is a demo version of Oddcast that has an avatar lip-syncing the words from the text bar on the left. It comes with a male and female avatar (below).
Readspeaker’s impressive array of solutions for text to speech solutions span webpage, form, and document reading. The website not only offers streaming text to speech but is also a literacy aid. Readspeaker offers cloud-based speech solutions, meaning no downloads are necessary. In addition to highlighting the words being read, the pages also scroll automatically. The page mask solution hides the section not being read, letting you focus on the text being read. The toolbar to listen to each web page is readily accessible.
Each of the Readspeaker modules comes with its own set of languages. The solution offers SSLM support, multiple audio formats, and easy to use interfaces. The free version lets you stream audio files. ReadSpeaker webReader allows you to download files into mp3 format to listen to them offline. For the elderly, the text on the webpages can also be enlarged and made clutter-free to increase ease of reading the content.
You can access the demo version of ReadSpeaker TTS Voices to experience how they have integrated 70 plus relatable, natural-sounding voices in 20 plus languages.
What Makes Readspeaker Stand Out:
- Custom-tailored solutions based on need and budget
- 50+ languages across 200+ voices
- Customer-specific dictionary for accuracy
- Selection and high level of control on specific text to be converted to speech
- Multilingual and multi-format files supported
- Runs on Linux
- High SSLM support
- Detailed summaries, actionable statistics and easy to use interface
The Results for the Best Text to Speech Program:
With all this information we move on to judging the top software to convert text to audio. In terms of ease and simplicity of usage, iSpeech has low downtime. In other words, it can work right after downloading the app for free. The choices of languages available make it a go-to solution for easy, free online text to audio conversion.
In the paid category, all applications have offered impressive features. Most importantly, the high quality and control of voiceovers, technology support and multi-device syncing were huge factors in deciding which of these programs would reign supreme. For the sheer volume of customized solutions offered, ReadSpeaker addresses every concern a user may have in embedding the application on their website. The application is easy to integrate and use.
We love the features that ReadSpeaker offers. The statistics of the solution provide an insight into how many times an article has been listened to. Their excellent customer support will allow you to ensure that your website users are always seeing the best version of your content. The ease of use for the website user keeps them satisfied and keep coming back for more. If your website is in a niche space, your customized dictionary will allow the software to pronounce those hard words with no issues.
A user can read the website anytime, anywhere, without any plugins or installations. The SSLM support in ReadSpeaker lets you control specific segments of text in terms of pace and delivery in a certain segment. Not only that, but the financial transaction side of the business is also made easy thanks to ReadSpeaker. You can purchase the APIs for the default voices and add on as you need. The application also has clear instructions on helping a user that is stuck navigating the software program. Lastly, the ReadSpeaker modules also come with industry and web standard compliance.
As a user of the application embedded in software, we are also impressed by the nuances offered by Oddcast. Foremost, the voice-overs are dynamic. The multiple avatars make it a great medium for presentations and virtual contact center teams. Secondly, the availability of multiple languages, voices, and accents takes our satisfaction one step further. Thirdly, the manipulation of voice, tone, echo, pitch affects the overall realness of the voice in the speech file. The pace can very easily be quickened or slowed down to match the audience. Finally, the company manages to impress with the wide variety of products that are available in the text to speech. Furthermore, Oddcast is also a pioneer in facial recognition, full-body avatars and other capabilities that open a wide range of possibilities in the interactive communication world.
Honorable Mentions in Text to Speech Apps
NaturalReaders and NaturalTTS are both honorable mentions in this category. Both these online text to mp3 audio programs offer free and paid versions. Although the free versions come with a certain limit, you will be able to access multiple languages and voices included in the package. The SSML support lets the user adjust the speed of the audio to their preference. Similarly, these two applications have OCR technology, which is useful in reading scanned documents and images. Additionally, features like Pronunciation Editor sharpen the accuracy of the content being broadcast. Bookmarking and files history enable easy access, which in turn heightens ease of use. The two sites offer their recordings for personal and commercial use without the worry of copyright infringement issues for the user. The dyslexia font is a bonus with Natural TTS for children or adults struggling with speech disability.
In conclusion, we hope that this deep dive into the world of online TTS has opened your eyes to the best text to speech programs available in 2019. Remember, there are always a few features that the end-user would prefer – clear, high-quality voices reading out high-quality content in a preferred language at a measured pace, accessible anywhere, any time. Winner, always!